Living a more sustainable life

Ronald ChanSponsored
Finbar Chief Operations Officer Ronald Chan.
Camera IconFinbar Chief Operations Officer Ronald Chan. Credit: The West Australian.

The debate in political circles locally, nationally and globally has amplified in recent months in terms of meeting global emissions targets into the future.

There is not an industry or sector that isn’t impacted by sustainability policies and practices, and we can all play our part in helping reduce our carbon footprint.

While those in apartment developments may think they have less control over their energy use and reducing their carbon footprint, there are ways apartment dwellers can live a more sustainable existence.

Builders and developers are also moving with the times, introducing increasing numbers of sustainability measures into apartment developments from construction onwards.

Real Estate Institute of Australia President Adrian Kelly said recently many buyers were increasingly placing sustainability on their list of requirements for a property, which in turn sees those properties sell at a premium.

While the upfront investment can often prove more substantial, introducing sustainability features at the outset can deliver better financial outcomes in the medium to long-term.

Many developers are now including a range of sustainability features that will deliver lasting benefit to owners and investors well into the future – features such as motion sensors in shared spaces that switch off when not required, reducing energy consumption across communal areas and promoting and encouraging bike use, storage and ride and carshare services to eliminate the dependence on vehicle use.

Electric car charging bays are slowly becoming a more common feature as the use of EVs gradually picks up across the country. Additional monitoring via smart electricity meters in individual apartments also gives both owner-occupiers and tenants more control over their energy use via the ability to monitor their electricity consumption in real time.

In terms of construction, a number of builders are using more innovative materials that reduce the use of concrete and installing more efficient hot-water and plumbing systems that again reduce water use across the board.

The use of solar systems in apartment developments can provide renewable power to common areas, while double-glazed windows have long been used for their excellent thermal properties, reducing the reliance on heating and cooling.

On a more individual level, there are many ways those who choose apartment living can reduce their impact on the environment.

Simple things such as using and installing more energy-efficient appliances can reduce energy consumption by more than half, and ensuring they are switched off at the wall when not in use can contribute to significant energy and, therefore, cost savings throughout the course of a year.

Using LED light bulbs which don’t contain toxic elements and that last up to tens of thousands of hours longer than traditional low-cost bulbs is also a great way to start. As is making sure if you do use a heating or cooling device you set it at the optimum temperature and turn it off after a certain time period.

The use of either communal gardens or balcony gardens for herbs and vegetables is not only a great way for residents to socialise, enjoy the outdoors and meet each other, it cuts down on food waste and can have a healthy impact on the weekly food budget.

Apartment living offers owners and residents a great opportunity to get ahead of the sustainability curve without it necessarily making a hole in their weekly budget, and it’s a great way to contribute to reducing our impact on Earth – even if it’s just in a small way.

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